College Cuisine

hi! I'm a college kid who REALLY loves food - to the point where it's almost an obsession. I don't always have ingredients like gruyere or heavy cream on hand (nor do I have the budget for them) but I can still whip up some tasty treats. stick around for recipes, restaurant reviews and food discussions in general.

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Strawberries and cream with lady fingers…

I made this trifle/parfait creation for the newsroom’s potluck last night. All ingredients were purchased at Kiva, an organic food store located downtown near the library. Nice selection of products, but I prefer Capella Market for their wide variety, lower prices and emphasis on local businesses. Interestingly, the people shopping in Kiva came from all different walks of life: busy college kid, aging hippie, new parent, etc. It’s nice that such differing people can coexist in our little town. :)

Here's the recipe I used to make the whipped cream. At first, I dreaded the thought of whisking/whipping the cream by hand - I could already feel my forearm cramping up - but soon remembered that I had a powerful hand mixer that whipped the cream up in less than five minutes.

It’s just as easy to assemble the rest of this dish. You can layer however you like, but I thought it’d be good if the ladyfingers could soak up some strawberry flavor. I’d imagine that this would taste best after chilling in the fridge so that all the flavors could marry, but I didn’t wait before eating mine, so I wouldn’t know. :)

the amount of things I can shove in my backpack never ceases to amaze me. tonight: 23 orange & chocolate cupcakes for @UOclimateleague’s mtg

transporting an orange and yogurt bundt cake to campus in my backpack right now. you can’t see it, but I bet you can smell it. lol.

spinach and mushroom pizza with homemade alfredo sauce: ridiculously easy, cheap and delicious.

day 3 of vegetarianism. all week I’ve had tofu for lunch - today it was pad kee mao at sweet basil in #eugene.

challah bread pudding

Jewish people are awesome. They’re friendly, funny, and stereotypically stingy, not unlike most Asians. Of course, they have great food. I love kugel and latkes, but mostly I love challah.

This sweet, soft bread is great for sandwiches and french toast, but it’s also amazing in bread pudding. I got this loaf from Barry’s Espresso & Bakery, a local campus eatery, and it was enough for two batches of bread pudding.

Normally you’d add raisins in the bread pudding, but because I don’t like them I decided to add dried cranberries instead. You could probably throw in any kind of dried fruit that you’d like, but I thought the cranberries and white chocolate went well together. Next time I make this, I think I’ll try white chocolate and raspberries together. :)

Here’s the recipe I used, which I found off of foodgawker. I love that site!

Crockpot Challah Bread Pudding with Cranberries and White Chocolate

4 cups challah bread, cut into 1” cubes

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2 1/4 cups milk (I used whole milk at first, but used fat-free milk the second time I made this and it was fine. You can use cream, too.)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg, ginger or cloves (I used quite a bit of nutmeg because I don’t have ginger or cloves)

Coat inside of crockpot with non-stick spray. Cut up challah into 1” slices, then into 1” cubes. Put cubes, along with some of the cranberries and white chocolate chips, into the crockpot. Put aside a small amount of the cranberries and white chocolate chips.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Next, add the brown sugar, salt, vanilla and nutmeg/ginger/cloves and mix together.

Add mixture to the crockpot. Squish down bread pieces so they are submerged in the liquid. Top with the remaining cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Cook in crockpot for 5-6 hours, or until the pudding is firm. Can be served immediately with ice cream, or reheated later.

* I also tried baking this in the oven. Combine the ingredients as directed above, but let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Bake in a nonstick dish at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the pudding is set. I kind of liked it better this way because the pudding was a lot denser. YUM.

chicken and dumplings. it took forever to make, but was SO worth the effort.

monster cookies that’d make Lady Gaga proud

"He ate my heart and then he ate my brain…" - Lady Gaga, “Monster”

Let’s face it: we’ve all had a bad romance…. maybe even a monstrous affair. These Lady Gaga-inspired cookies were for my friend Alvin’s (extremely belated) birthday. Because Alvin can appreciate both Gaga and delicious cookies, they seemed an appropriate present.

These cookies were not only tasty, but therapeutic to make. Here are the other ones I made for Alvin:

"promise I’ll be kind, but I won’t stop until that boy is mine…" - Lady Gaga, "Paparazzi"

"sweet surprise I could get used to…" - Britney Spears, “Unusual You” (Alvin’s also a HUGE Britney fan, and the lyric just came to mind…)

I lost the links to the recipes I used for the cookies and frosting, but you can look up recipes for basic sugar cookies and powdered sugar icing and I’m sure they’d work fine. I would suggest, though, to just buy pre-made icing instead of making your own. I made mine with food coloring, and it took FOREVER to mix and pipe onto the cookies… just ridiculous.

pulled pork sandwiches on homemade focaccia

There really isn’t an interesting story behind this creation. I bought two pork roasts at the store because they were on a BOGO sale one day. One was made into pulled pork sandwiches and chili ‘n cornbread pie. I froze the other for later use.

Pulled pork is the easiest thing to make when you have a slow cooker - it literally does all the work for you! I just threw the roast into the pot with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning, and a little dried parsley. Garlic and onion powders are easier to use than their fresh counterparts, which require peeling and chopping. After cooking on low for eight to nine hours, the roast literally fell apart. YUM.

The focaccia recipe I used came from foodgawker. I’ve been meaning to try it for some time, but I was scared to mess it up somehow. Even through the whole process I doubted myself, but the focaccia turned out surprisingly well. It kind of tasted like french bread… I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to taste, but that’s alright with me.

If you’ve ever considered baking your own bread but were scared to try, I highly recommend trying this recipe. The original post shows how easily it can be made, with the author adding that, once you try it, you won’t be able to stop! I agree: already I’m planning my next sandwich creations… :)

Rosemary Focaccia 

1 pkg (about 2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
sea salt
warm water
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in ½ cup of water about the temperature of a hot jacuzzi.  Let stand until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and ½ tsp salt.  Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Gradually add water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough is moistened enough to pull together and form a ball.  In the same bowl, knead dough for about one minute, until smooth.

Remove dough, and oil the same bowl with some olive oil.  Put the ball of dough back into the bowl, turn to coat, and then cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about ½ hour.

Preheat oven to 245 degrees C or 470 F.

Punch down the dough and knead briefly.  Press into an 8 x 12” baking pan (no need to grease it).  Keep in mind that the focaccia won’t rise much, so don’t press it much thinner than you want the final product to be.  Let it rise for 5 minutes or so until it is about the height you want.

Mix the rosemary with the olive oil and brush it over the top of the bread.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for about 10 minutes (it should sound hollow when you tap the top), or a little longer if you want it to be a bit crustier.  Cut into squares and serve.

homemade focaccia, to be used for cajun pulled pork sandwiches in the near future. first time making bread!

.@dailyemerald’s readers’ choice 2010: espresso roma. RT @eugene360 Looking for the best coffee in #Eugene… I hear it’s out there.